Skip to main content

Google Now Launcher arrives for Nexus and Google Play Edition devices

what is google now
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When Google launched the Nexus 5 late last year, it brought us what the search juggernaut calls the Google Now Launcher. It was a new home screen and app launcher that gave Google Now its own home panel. But it was only available for that single device. Today, Google brings that same launcher to Google Play in the form of a free download that’s available to more – but not even close to all – Android devices.

The Google Now Launcher gives Google a way to update the home screen experience without having to update Android itself, a philosophy Google applies to its apps, such as Gmail and YouTube. In addition, it makes the navigation and status bars translucent In addition, the Google Now Launcher allows for greater access to Google Now, the company’s artificially intelligent assistant. Saying “OK Google” brings up Google Now’s voice search functionality, while swiping to the farthest left home panel will bring you to Google Now itself.

Unfortunately, the Google Now Launcher only works on a very narrow list of devices. It is available for other Nexus products, as well as Google Play Edition devices, which include devices from Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola. The device also needs to be on Android 4.4 KitKat or later.

No word on whether more devices will be added, though we wouldn’t bank on it.

Williams Pelegrin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Williams is an avid New York Yankees fan, speaks Spanish, resides in Colorado, and has an affinity for Frosted Flakes. Send…
Google is working on a much-needed Gemini feature
Google Pixel 8a showing Gemini Nano.

Last month, Google rolled out a YouTube Music extension for Gemini. Now, it appears that Spotify is the next music streaming service to see Gemini support in the near future.

What does the YouTube Music extension in Gemini do, exactly? Essentially, you can use it to find music, start radio stations, and more, all through the Google Gemini AI chatbot experience. With Spotify integration coming soon, it's expected to work in a similar fashion.

Read more
Google is making it easier to ditch your iPhone for an Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro in hand.

Switching phones is never a smooth process, even if you’re switching between two different Android phones. However, when you’re trying to switch from an iPhone to Android or vice versa, it can be extra complicated -- and you can lose data and apps that you rely on. This is especially the case with Apple-to-Android transfers because the iPhone has a much stronger ecosystem lock-in with things like iMessage, iCloud backups, and exclusive apps like Overcast and Hyperlapse.

The good news is that with its Data Transfer Tool (also called Pixel Migrate on Pixel devices), Google may be trying to mitigate some of the phone-switching problems that arise -- specifically, losing access to your Live Photos. According to an APK teardown from Android Authority, Google’s Data Transfer Tool will finally resolve the problem of migrating iOS Live Photos to Android. It will do this by converting them over as Motion Photos.

Read more
Your Google Photos app may soon get a big overhaul. Here’s what it looks like
The Google Photos app running on a Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Google Photos is set to get a long-overdue overhaul that will bring new and improved sharing and notification features to the app. With its automatic backups, easy sorting and search, and album sharing, Google Photos has always been one of the better photo apps, and now it's set to get a whole slew of AI features.

According to an APK teardown done by Android Authority and the leaker AssembleDebug, Google is now set to double down on improving sharing features. Google Photos will get a new social-focused sharing page in version for Android devices.

Read more